How Smaller Utility Companies Kept The Lights On After Irene

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV
September 1, 2011

HINGHAM (CBS) – “I had to reset the coffee pot that’s all.” Ken Cerny’s power only flickered during Sunday’s storm. He’s got some brush to clean up but plenty of hot coffee thanks to the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant.

The small municipal utility only powers the town of Hingham,  and crews constantly trim trees to keep them clear from the lines. Manager Paul Heanue who used to work for one of the big power companies says those are just two reasons why the lights stayed on in Hingham.

Heanue said, “It’s a single town, crews know their way around town, we have tree crews 52 weeks a year always make sure the tree has good clearance for wires so we were able to recover quickly.”

Thirty new utility poles were brought in to prepare for the storm. Two are still loaded on a trailer ready to go, but only one pole was replaced across the entire town. We found Katelin Jenkins just a few miles down the road in Norwell which is powered by National Grid. She’s seen National Grid trucks roll by but she’s still in the dark.

“Day five, no power, no lights, I’d like a shower, anybody got a washing machine,” asked Jenkins. The answer? Yes, in Hingham, the town next door.